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Amazing Sport Stories

Author: BBC World Service

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Sport but not as you know it.Forget the champions. Amazing Sport Stories is about courage, underdogs, drama and myths and legends. These are global stories you’ll wish you’d known about and now probably won’t forget. There are other podcasts about gold medals and millionaire superstars. Expect the unexpected. Tales from around the world, all told in mini-seasons and one-off episodes. #AmazingSportStories

40 Episodes
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Between 1946 and 1966, the ball boys at one of the world's most prestigious tennis tournaments, Wimbledon, were selected from children's homes run by the Barnardo's charity. Two of them were Winston Norton and Sam Hill. Sam had been taken into care because his parents' home was too small to house their six children; Winston because his mother could not cope with the abuse she'd received for having a mixed-race child. At their children's home in Hertfordshire, north of London, they were put through a strict exercise regimen, hoping to be one of the 60 boys selected to work at that year's tournament. When they made the grade, they found themselves on court with the game's biggest names. It was an experience that would change their lives.Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
Copper Bullets: Ep 4

Copper Bullets: Ep 4

2024-07-0836:02

One year after the crash, Zambia awaits the Africa Cup of Nations final. Football writer Ponga Liwewe and superfan Melody Mwala describe the fever-pitch atmosphere of hope in the country. Fast-forward 18 years, and Zambia are preparing for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations final in Libreville, Gabon, near the 1993 crash site. Despite fading on the international scene, Zambia’s run to the final is remarkable. Facing Africa’s best team, Ivory Coast, led by stars like Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, Zambia’s underdogs have a chance to honour the legacy of the team whose future was snatched away from them. #AmazingSportStories
Copper Bullets: Ep 3

Copper Bullets: Ep 3

2024-07-0136:47

The newly formed Zambian football team begins to honour the legacy of the KK11, and the players start to defy all odds. The resilience of a nation is witnessed as the new team is met with a wave of support and jubilation. We hear Zambians cheer on their team with the iconic Chipolopolo chant as the players stage an important comeback in a World Cup qualifier which ensures they climb the ranks for the Africa Cup of Nations. #AmazingSportStories
Copper Bullets: Ep 2

Copper Bullets: Ep 2

2024-06-2437:26

The families of Zambia’s fallen football players grieve their loved ones, as a new national team is formed. The nation mourns the squad at the Independence Stadium in Lusaka, as relatives begin their fight for justice and truth. The newly assembled line-up begins training. Danish manager Roald Poulsen will be their coach. Three players from the original team, but who were not on the flight - Kalusha Bwalya, Johnson Bwalya and Charles Musonda - are among them. They try their luck in World Cup qualifiers and then start their journey to the biggest contest on the continent, the Africa Cup of Nations. #AmazingSportStories
Copper Bullets: Ep 1

Copper Bullets: Ep 1

2024-06-1736:12

The stars of Zambia's national football team are killed in a deadly plane crash in 1993, and a dream is shattered. Former international player Robert Earnshaw goes back to his roots in Zambia to interview football writer Ponga Liwewe and the families of the legendary players, including relatives of Godfrey Chitalu, and David Efford Chabala. The team had been nicknamed the KK11 in honour of President Kenneth Kaunda, a proud football fan, after their famous victory against Italy at the Olympics. They had set their sights on being the first Zambian team to compete at the World Cup and they had just begun playing qualifier matches for the tournament when disaster struck. #AmazingSportStories
Trailer: Copper Bullets

Trailer: Copper Bullets

2024-06-1004:081

A nation’s dreams were shattered when Zambia's football team was killed in a plane crash. Against all odds, a new squad was assembled. This is the story of the “Copper Bullets” and what happened next – a story no one could possibly have imagined. Former international footballer Robert Earnshaw sets out to tell this amazing sport story – coming soon.
The woman in black

The woman in black

2024-06-0313:14

In 1971, women in Brazil were banned from taking part in organised football. Lea Campos had spent most of her life being steered away from the game, but the fascination had never left her, and she began to wonder if she could get involved by becoming a referee. However, future Fifa president Joao Havelange was determined to maintain the status quo.With this seemingly insurmountable obstacle in her path, Lea decided to appeal to one of the few men more powerful than Havelange: General Emilio Garrastazu Medici, Brazil's brutal military dictator. But would he be willing to listen?Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
Fixing the Crazy Gang

Fixing the Crazy Gang

2024-05-2717:39

Caroline Brouwer was one of very few women working in English men's football in the 1980s - and she found her home in one of its most infamous dressing rooms.The Wimbledon team of the late 1980s featured some of the game's most intimidating players: Vinnie Jones, Dennis Wise, John Fashanu. The press labelled them the 'Crazy Gang', notorious for their riotous behaviour and direct, physical tactics. Their fans loved them; the football establishment turned up their noses. But as they rose through the leagues, they became impossible to ignore.As one of Wimbledon's physiotherapists, Caroline helped the players deal with the rigours of a punishing training regime, but also lent a sympathetic ear away from the dressing room. Then in 1988, she was on the touchline as the team faced their greatest challenge: an FA Cup final against Liverpool, the newly crowned champions of England. What happened next would make history.Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
Poker's new deal

Poker's new deal

2024-05-2015:52

Antonio Esfandiari's heart was beating like a drum. $18 million was stacked up about 12 feet away from where he was sitting. Only one other poker player stood between him and the biggest prize in the game's history.Everyone held their breath as the dealer revealed the final card.For Esfandiari, it represented the culmination of a career which began in very different circumstances; for poker itself, the change was immeasurable. This is the story of how a card game went from smoky back rooms to the global sporting mainstream.Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
We have a winner – or so we think. Questions are being asked, as an earlier climb comes under scrutiny. If you don’t actually reach the summit, can you still claim the title of first woman to scale the fourteen highest peaks? The mountaineers risked their lives on the ultimate challenge – can they make peace with what has happened?
The mountaineers are climbing the final peaks, and three of them are neck-and-neck. The other two are close behind. They say it’s not a race, but their sense of competition is intense. Can they all make it?This episode was updated on 17 May 2024, to correct an error in the temperature on the summit of Nanga Parbat.
Then there were five. Two super-fast new challengers are powering up the peaks, and the pressure is on. Edurne Pasaban, Gerlinde Katlernbrunner and Nives Meroi have been climbing the world’s highest mountains at a rate of around one a year. With the arrival of the South Korean climbers Oh Eun-sun and Go Mi-young, the stakes are supercharged.
Chasing Mountains: Ep 1

Chasing Mountains: Ep 1

2024-04-2245:401

A near-death experience motivates a mountaineer to scale the world’s highest peaks. But two others are trying at the same time. They say this is not a race, but they are locked in competition to be the first woman to reach the summit of the 14 peaks.
The female climbers vying to make history. Their challenge? To scale the fourteen highest peaks in the world. They come from South Korea, Spain, Italy and Austria to pit themselves against some of the harshest environments on earth, more than 8000 metres high in the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains. It is a dangerous quest. Who will realise their dream?The four-part season, with Joanna Jolly and Kathy Karlo, is coming soon.
Ghost story

Ghost story

2024-04-0818:061

On Easter Monday, 1957, stewards waited near the start of a half-marathon race in Doncaster, in the north of England. They each clutched a photograph of a man who, they had been told, must not be allowed to compete under any circumstances. That man, John Tarrant, was lurking in the crowd in disguise, ready to once more defy those who tried to stop him.One of Britain's finest long-distance athletes of the late 1950s and 1960s, Tarrant ran multiple world records, but was denied his full share of glory by stubborn authorities who banned him from racing. But he wouldn't let them stop him. He was a dogged and brilliant competitor. A numberless outlaw. They called him the Ghost Runner.Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
The first Brazilian striker to play for Barcelona scored more times than Ronaldo and Romario combined, had a better goals-to-games ratio than Neymar or Rivaldo and got the goal that knocked Real Madrid out of the European Cup for the very first time - before crossing that bitter divide two years later.For Brazil, he holds a goalscoring record that Pele never matched, yet was prohibited from playing at the 1958 World Cup. As a manager, he led 16 different teams, including Iraq, where he worked alongside Saddam Hussein's son.This is the story of Evaristo.Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
When Leon Edwards was nine years old, he moved with his mum and younger brother from a one-bedroom shack in Kingston, Jamaica, to start a new life in Birmingham, England. Four years later, his mum got a phone call at 2am. Leon could her crying. His dad, a gang leader, had been murdered. Over the next few years - the "darkest" of his life - Leon was himself drawn into a world of gang violence. This is the story of how, against the odds, he found a way out by forging a path in mixed martial arts - and went on to win the sport's biggest prize. Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
From the Curse of the Bambino, to the Drake Curse, the Curse of the Billy Goat and the Curse of County Mayo... this St Patrick’s Day, we’re exploring why some sports fans and players believe their teams could actually be cursed. Why are sport and superstition so intrinsically linked? Whether it’s wearing lucky pants on match days, sitting in the same spot for every game or even peeing on the field before kick off - why do some of us seem to believe cosmic forces could help lead us to victory?After investigating an apparent 70-year-old curse on County Mayo‘s Gaelic football team, Irish-American sport reporter Dave McKenna is back for this special episode. He’s delving into the minds of fans and athletes to try to understand why sport and superstition seem to be so entangled.For Dave’s full, three-part investigation into the Mayo curse, scroll back to episodes of Amazing Sport Stories from the end of 2023 or search for The Curse of County Mayo, wherever you get your podcasts. Let us know what you think of #AmazingSportStories
Running for change

Running for change

2024-03-1115:301

"The audacity!" Roberta 'Bobbi' Gibb had just received a nine-word slap to the face: "Women are not physiologically capable of running a marathon." That was the reply she received when she applied to enter the Boston Marathon. She crumpled the letter and threw it on the floor. Bobbi knew she’d be running the race - whether they let her or not. This is the story of one woman’s battle against derogatory sideswipes and archaic attitudes, and how far she went to remove the barriers that kept women from running practically every marathon in the world. Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
The worst betrayal

The worst betrayal

2024-03-0419:171

When former Dutch boxing champion Barry Groenteman used to visit his grandmother at her retirement home, he would often see an older man shadow-boxing. "He showed me his ring with the Star of David on it. And my grandmother would whisper: 'That's Ben Bril.'"This is the story of a Jewish boxer from Amsterdam who had his life transformed by invasion, violence and anti-Semitism. A champion forced into hiding, then captured and sent to the Nazi concentration camps - after being betrayed by a former Olympic teammate. Audio scenes have been re-created. Let us know what you think #AmazingSportStories
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